Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

The Personal Touch. (from the Editor)

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

The Personal Touch. (from the Editor)

Article excerpt

An extensive and accumulating literature holds that morality is rooted at bottom in the dynamics of personal relationships, not in general claims about rationality, happiness, or human flourishing. Much of this literature has focused on the notion of caring. The literature has also focused, very naturally, on the relationships between specific people--in bioethics, the relationship between a patient and a medical professional. One of the problems sometimes imputed to this approach is that it accounts only with difficulty for obligations held toward distant or unknown people, toward society in general, or toward or by institutions. How to leverage the dynamics of personal relationships in seemingly impersonal contexts?

This problem is the starting point, more or less, for two essays in this issue of the Report. The strategy taken in both papers is to attend to the structure of relationships rather than to the role in them of the emotions. Susan Dorr Goold argues that trust, a concept that is vital to personal relationships, can be redeployed in an institutional context to describe aspects of a hospital's relationship with its patients and other stakeholders. This relationship is usually expressed in contractual terms and as something to be enforced by an agent outside the relationship, but Goold holds that there are solid reasons for allowing hospitals to regulate themselves as much as possible. It would be less costly, and it might even offer better protection to patients. The self-regulatory approach requires, however, that we make sense of the notion of `institutional trust'--the trust held toward and earned by an institution-and Goold's project is to make some preliminary moves in this direction. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.